XDA Basics: How to Setup and Use a VPN on your Android Smartphone
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is an essential tool for anyone who wants to keep their internet activity private and secure. A VPN can help you browse the web privately, mask your actual location while browsing the web for added privacy, unblock certain websites that may be blocked in your country, or access geo-restricted websites or content that may be available in a different country but not in yours. For example, Netflix is different in the US than it is in India. So if you’re in the US and want to watch Indian shows and movies, you can use a VPN to change your location to India and enjoy the local content.
There are various great VPN providers across different platforms. You can opt for one of the best VPNs but most of the good and reliable ones are paid (which we recommend). But we also understand that not everyone can afford to pay for a VPN. So we also have a list of the best free VPNs on Android which you can try before investing in a good paid VPN app.
Now you know what a VPN is and what you can use it for, we’ll tell you how to use a VPN on Android and how you can set up a VPN app on Android for the first time.
How to Use a VPN on Android
Setting up and using a VPN on Android is fairly simple, and can be done through a few straightforward steps that we’ll discuss in this guide. Once you have set up a VPN on Android and granted it access to your network, you can use it just like any other app without repeating the setup process each time you launch the app.
- Download and install a VPN app of your choice from our list of the best VPN apps for Android. If none of these appeal to you, you can also search for VPN apps on the Play Store and download the one you like.
- Once you’ve installed the app of your choice, launch it and go through the initial setup. If the app asks you to register with an account or log in, complete the process.
- Next, tap on the icon that says Connect. This will initiate the VPN connection process.
- Now you’ll see a pop-up dialog box on your phone letting you know the app is requesting to set up a VPN connection. Select OK.
- The VPN app will now start the connection process and once you see the Connected message, your phone will display a small icon that looks like a key in the notification panel. This icon indicates your phone is connected to a VPN.
- You can verify this by going to your phone’s Settings > Wi-Fi and Network > VPN and selecting the settings icon next to the VPN app you’ve installed. From here, you can select the VPN to be always-on or you can even forget the VPN if you no longer want to use it.
- Since your Android phone is now connected to a VPN, you can access blocked websites and browse the web securely.
That’s how simple it is to use a VPN on Android. If you’re not satisfied with a VPN app or client, you can try multiple apps before settling on the one you prefer. ProtonVPN is a good free app to start with. Different VPN apps allow you to access different locations so you can try a few apps if the location you’re looking for isn’t present on one of them.
Note that free VPNs only allow you to connect to select locations so if you want to connect to more locations or want a more secure experience, we recommend getting a paid VPN.